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I read a short story around 1989 in which a man somewhere in Europe (London/Paris maybe) sent a pocket watch somewhere (in time) and it came back a few minutes later rusted. The man decided to send himself wherever the watch went (I can't remember if the man knew this involved time-travel or not). Anyway, he ended up in a jungle of some type and ended up either befriending a caveman or the caveman took pity on him and taught him how to survive. I remember there was also a cave woman that came into the picture at some point as a love interest. The man ends up being in the past for months or years and just as he's accepted this as his new life he is somehow brought back to the future where only a few minutes or hours have passed and he realizes that is why the watch looked rusty after only being gone for a few time.

I've looked for this story for years and can't find anything or anyone that knows about it. I remember that it was in a book that had a few other time-travel stories and was probably published between the 50's and 70's. I think the book included The Time Machine, in-turn which is what led me to this other story but, I've been unable to find it via that route either.

Any help would be appreciated and would finally end a 25+ year quest to find it again. Thanks for any help.

  • Here's a bunch of places The Time Machine was published, you can click any anthology title to see the other stories that were included with it: isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?25149 – Hypnosifl Apr 26 '15 at 19:54
  • ...looking over the list, there weren't too many anthologies published that included "The Time Machine" between the 50s and the 70s, is it possible you're mistaken about that detail? – Hypnosifl Apr 26 '15 at 20:19
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    I'm looking at the Travelers in Time 1947 on the list you sent but I'm not familiar with everything listed so, I'm still working on there. I could very well be mistaken that The Time Machine was included (I did read it around that time as well). The story I read ends with the time traveler telling either a friend or assistant that he's going back. Thanks again for your efforts. – Cvance74 Apr 26 '15 at 20:38
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The Time Machine by H.G.Wells has the same ending you mentioned (i.e telling a friend that he is going back), and some of the plot you mentioned matches with the story plot.

It also contains the element of the cave and cave-wife, but it occurs in the future not in the past.

I think the story you are mentioning is the shortened version of the same novel. I read the novel as a short story in my childhood.

I am 95% sure that it's the same story.

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    An abridgement is unlikely to add details such as the watch, and the time travel method, with the automatic (delayed) return does not sound like the Time Machine. Perhaps a directly related story from the same fictional universe: – ImaginaryEvents Jul 1 '15 at 13:35

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